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Bringing you conservation news from around the world...

alien species

Alien species dominating an area of forest in the Seychelles (see story below)

UK: From California to Cornwall...4000-year-old trees take root in the gardens at Eden


stumpClones from the oldest, biggest trees in the world have arrived at the Eden Project as part of an ambitious vision to re-forest the globe.


Seychelles: A Conservation Nation ... with help from PCA!


maintenabceSeychelles has a reputation as a conservation-oriented nation, with around 50% of its land area now protected - surely the largest proportion of any nation. Seychelles was also one of the first countries to adopt the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and produced its own national strategy in 2005. A small NGO, the Plant Conservation Action group (PCA), set up in 2002, played a pivotal role in the strategy’s formulation and remains actively engaged in plant conservation and research, vegetation restoration, and education and outreach activities.

Spain: La Gomera's ancient forest in the clouds


La GomeraLa Gomera, in the centre of the Canary archipelago, off the north-west coast of Africa, boasts more indigenous palms than all the other Canary Islands put together, including La Palma, but it is the atmospheric and mysterious laurisilva cloud forest of the Garajonay National Park that has brought La Gomera to the attention of the plant conservation community.

Ukraine: Safeguarding Life on Chalk


chalk steppeIn the silence of Ukraine’s steppe country, among vast high plains, sweeping valleys and deep gorges, outcrops of white chalk bedrock appear, eroded into strange shapes by wind and rain, forming a pristine and unforgettable landscape.

Saudi Arabia: Kings Park and Botanic Garden bringing the desert to life


Edge of the worldIn a world facing problems of increasing desertification, Kings Park - located in Western Australia - has developed a range of research and extension initiatives in the arid regions of the Middle East, aimed at environmental, conservation and horticultural programmes.

SAUDI ARABIA IN PICTURES: Kings Park and Botanic Garden bringing the desert to life


desert in bloomMore pictures from the Kings Park team in Saudi Arabia



USA: John Muir: Wilderness Prophet (1838-1914)


John MuirThis year sees the centenary of the death of John Muir, naturalist, conservationist and ‘Father of National Parks’. He was born in Scotland, in the small, coastal town of Dunbar on the 21st April, 1838 and went to school there until the age of 11, when he and his family left these shores for a new life in the United States.


Chile: Preserving Andes Country


campos thumbEnvironmental conditions in the High Andes of Central Chile are extreme, affecting all aspects of life here and limiting species numbers. However the unique characteristics of this ‘bio-geographical island’ have resulted in a high level of endemism – plants are found here that occur nowhere else on Earth.

New BGCI Partnership and Photography Competition


bgci logo 2BGCI, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, has an exciting new partnership with Chic Outlet Shopping®, the Collection of luxury outlet shopping villages in Europe and China - in the UK, Bicester Village.



Portugal: Message in a bottle ... from Cork Country


cork harvesting smallIt’s the end of a long day; you kick off your shoes, fetch a couple of glasses and reach for your favourite bottle of claret.  You lovingly draw the cork from the bottle, thrilled by that familiar squeaky ‘pop’ as your senses begin to tingle with anticipation!


USA: Preserving and Protecting California Native Plants and Their Habitats


California wildflowers smallCalifornia’s unique habitats have been shaped by millions of years of geology and climate, producing a rich and colourful mosaic of life. Many of the plants and animals found here occur nowhere else and the California Floristic Province is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. Of nearly 3,500 plant species, more than 61% are endemics, but like other botanically spectacular places, California is one of the most threatened. Large-scale, intensive agriculture, a growing population, urbanization, pollution and road construction all contribute to massive habitat destruction and degradation.

USA: Preserving Prairies in the Midwest - A Conservation Challenge


remnant and reconstruction 2For thousands of years, prairie covered more than a million square miles of the North American Midwest – a vast tapestry of colours and textures made up of tall, swaying grasses and colourful herbaceous perennials, including 9 species of Echinacea, endemic to North American prairies, and Eryngium yuccifolium, used by Native Americans as an antidote to rattlesnake venom.

Spain: Protecting the Flora of Sa Dragonera


Sa Dragonera small 1The little, uninhabited island of Sa Dragonera is 3.2k long and located about 780m off the south-west coast of Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands.  It forms a continuation of the Tramuntana mountain range that dissects the main island and rises from the sea with sheer, vertical cliffs, tiny coves and sea caves. Sa Dragonera is covered with characteristic Mediterranean garrigue vegetation, an open community of small, mainly evergreen shrubs and a great variety of associated herbaceous plants like the Autumn Arum, Arum pictum, the beautiful orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, and a multitude of annuals and bulb species which are very colourful in spring. Mediterranean garrigue vegetation is extremely important as it is the last defence against soil erosion and eventual desertification.

HONDURAS IN PICTURES: The ground-breaking work of the Inga Foundation


the team 1More pictures from the Inga Foundation, working to halt the destruction of the rainforest by slash and burn agricultural practices. Mike Hands and Issy Ellis-Cockcroft of the Inga Foundation are in conversation with Plant Talk on the Plant People page.

Brazil: Amazon Aluminium - Restoring the Rainforest


amazon beaches thumbnailCruising at around 5,000 feet – I know this because I am sitting directly behind the pilot and am watching his every move over his shoulder – in a (very) small propeller plane, the early morning views are spectacular; the Amazon river near Santarem, approaching 60 kilometres wide at this point, divides into a maze of channels and islands. Islands are painted every shade of green, shedding swirling, early mist like smoke. Some are forested with white sandy beaches, such that you could be forgiven for believing you might be in the Caribbean. I become alarmed and think we may be lost when the pilot unfolds a road map; but instead of navigating by it, he places it over the windscreen to eclipse the blinding sun – good move – but I now wonder how he can see where we’re going!

BRAZIL IN PICTURES: Amazon Aluminium - Restoring the Rainforest


Amazon orchidMore pictures from Peter Whitbread-Abrutat’s Amazon adventures



Malta: Restoring Ramla - The Gaia Foundation is protecting Malta’s Coastal Heritage


Thumbnail of dune image, Malta On that magical frontier for life, where the land meets the sea, you may find one of the most beautiful flowers of the Mediterranean basin, the Sea Daffodil, Pancratium maritimum, but it is becoming increasingly rare. However, across the dunes of ir-Ramla, on the Maltese island of Gozo, drifts of them thrive in their sandy habitat in the searing heat and incandescent light of midsummer, cooled only by salty sprays of seawater carried on the wind.

UK: Are the rainforests for sale?


Rainforest debateOn April 20 four leading authorities on rainforests will gather at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK for a public debate on the future of rainforests. Joining BBC news presenter George Alagiah, who is hosting the event, will be Prof. Ghillean Prance (Eden Project Trustee), Andrew Mitchell (Executive Director Global Canopy Programme), Simon Counsell (Executive Director Rainforest Foundation UK), and Dr. Ben Beck (Director of Conservation, Great Ape Trust).

Fiji: Glorious new Medinilla found on Kadavu


Medinilla flowerAn exciting new flowering plant belonging to the Medinilla plant group has been discovered in the highlands of Matasawalevu village, on the island of Kadavu in Fiji. The plant was found during a biodiversity assessment of the Nakasaleka district carried out as part of IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI).

UK: Quality not quantity for woodlands


logs on floor of woodlandOne in six woodland flowers is threatened with extinction and good management is key to reversing the worrying declines in woodland plants and animals say one of the UK's leading plant charities, Plantlife, in their latest report.

UK: Global Business of Biodiversity conference


Richard Benyon is set to join 50+ other speakers at GBOB-GBOF 2011 in London at the IET Savoy Place.

Global: Mixed news from the IUCN Red List update


seeds of Coco-de-mer palm tree hanging off the treeThe most comprehensive audit on the state of the planet's wildlife has just received an update. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has now reviewed more than 61,900 species, and another big step forward has been made toward developing the Red List into a true "Barometer of Life,‟ as called for by leading experts in Science magazine in 2010.

UK: "Up in Smoke" coming to Cornwall Film Festival


pineapples growing in field If you're in the UK and missed the screening on More 4 in September of Up in Smoke then you have a chance to watch it at the Cornwall Film Festival in Newquay, Cornwall this weekend.

UK: Director of Kew to return to Australia after six years


The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - the world's leading botanical institution - announced last month that Director (CEO and Chief Scientist), Professor Stephen Hopper FLS will step down in autumn 2012 after six years in the job.

Borneo: Scientists work hand-in-hand with loggers to investigate forest fragments


Scientists in Borneo have announced the somewhat surprising move to work with loggers in Sabah, Borneo to investigate the effects of forest fragmentation on a huge scale.

Honduras: "Up in Smoke" UK premiere


pineapples growing in fieldA very important film premieres on UK television tonight that could help transform tropical agriculture. "Up in Smoke" follows the exploits of Mike Hands, a scientist from Cornwall in the UK, who has been developing an innovative agroforestry technique called alley-cropping in equatorial rainforests for 25 years.

UK: Getting the sands moving again


fen orchidBritain's unique coastal dune flora will receive some help this year as Plantlife try to get them moving again as they begin a novel three year project on the dunes of South Wales.

Uruguay: ¡Hasta siempre Ricardo!


ricardo carrerePlant Talk received a terribly sad, but beautiful email from The World Rainforest Movement last week on the passing of its long-time dedicated coordinator Ricardo Carrere. Here it is in full...

Seychelles: First country in world to protect half of its territory


seychelles islandIUCN announced in a press release recently that just over half (50.59%) of the land in Seychelles will become protected by law with the addition of an extra 45,500 hectares.

Global: The Red List of Rhododendrons


rhodo thumbnailBotanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has published a Red List of Rhododendrons report assessing the conservation status of the Rhododendron genus. Research by BGCI and Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh shows that a quarter of the 1,157 Rhododendron species are under threat in the wild.